When profanity surpasses piety

There are times that wicked deeds appear better in God’s sight than fake religion and superficial righteousness. Jesus minces no words to condemn the unrepentant Jews stating that the most sinful cities like Tyre, Sidon, Sodom, etc. were less damned than them.

Overview

Passage/s: Matthew 11:20-24; 10.12-15

Context

Riches:

  • Chosen people of God
  • Custodians of God’s law
  • Christ in person

Response:

Complacence – Did not repent..

  • In spite of messiah
  • miracles
  • Messages correlating them with OT prophecy

Result:

  • Condemnation – of the worst level.
  • Levels of judgement

Objectives

To understand that:

  • Good works in themselves are not adequate for righteousness
  • Good works could, in fact be a deterrant to righteousness
  • It is the faith and heart that God is more concerned about

Bible Passage

Matthew 11:20 Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 

Bible Passage

Matthew 11:22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

Matthew 10:12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. 15 Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

Context

The center of Jesus’ Galilean ministry was an area now called the “evangelical triangle.” At the points of this triangle were the towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. [1]

Chorazin

Chorazin is located about 2.5 miles north of the Sea of Galilee, situated on the basalt hills above Capernaum.  On the hill are the ruins of 1st century AD Chorazin, which has never been excavated.

Chorazin (cont'd)

Chorazin is located about 2.5 miles north of the Sea of Galilee, on the basalt hills above Capernaum.  The ruins of 1st century AD Chorazin, have never been excavated.

Excavations  on the south of the site, in 1926, have revealed the “Seat of Moses”. Jesus mentions it in Matthew 23:1-3” [1]

Bethsaida

The location of Bethsaida has been uncertain for centuries and has been a recent topic of academic debate.

Excavators argue the topography has changed:

1.Earthquake and tectonic activity have altered the topography.

2.The Jordan River has changed course over time.

3.Deposits from the Jordan have increased the size of the delta.

Jesus, noteably heals the blind man and moves to Bethsaida after feeding 5000 (Mark 8:22-25, 45-51) [1]

Capernaum

Jesus stayed at Peter’s house when in Capernaum Mt 4:13-14; 8:20). Aerial view of Peter’s House (top left) and the synagogue (bottom right) is shown. Capernaum also refused to repent and accept Jesus’ claims to the office of Messiah, The New Testament tells us that Jesus performed many of his miracles in the “evangelical triangle.” [1]

Riches

The Jews were rich. They represented:

  • Chosen people of God
  • Custodians of God’s law

They experienced Christ in person

Response

Complacence – They did not repent.. in spite of the:

  • Messiah
  • Miracles
  • Messages correlating Christ with Old Testament prophecy

Retaining and removing peace

Those who welcome the disciples receive the “peace”, those who don’t get dust shaken off on them – a symbol of the worst judgment.

Result – condemnation of the worst level.

Jesus says  in Matthew 11:24 “But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

This verse also indicates that there are different levels of punishment and reward at the judgment.

Brazen profanity beats shallow piety hands down.

When profanity surpasses piety

For those to whom God has unravelled His mystery

Irrespective of the extent of superficial piety

The worst  sin is insubordination to Christ’s deity

Recap

Matthew 11:20-24; 10.12-15

Context

Riches:

The Jews were the:

  • Chosen people of God
  • Custodians of God’s law
  • Christ in person

 

Recap (Cont'd)

Response:

Complacence – Did not repent..

  • In spite of Messiah
  • Miracles
  • Messages correlating them with OT prophecy

Result:

Condemnation – of the worst level.

Discussion

Matthew 11:20-24; 10.12-15

1.If God considers the externally pious worse than the worst sinners (in our terms), how does that change our outlook?

2.In what ways do we slip into piety instead of purity?

3.What is true godliness and goodness in the light of these passages? How can we emulate that in our lives?

Related Posts

Signs of the Messiah

Why does John the Baptist ask Jesus “Are you the Messiah”? Christ systematically highlights unquestionable evidence witnessed by John’s own disciples. He points out to prophecy and reaffirms John’s faith and mission. Bible Passage: Matt 11:1-6, Luke 7.18-23 Background...

True Greatness

Christ gives his testimony of the greatest man born till date – John the Baptist. He confirms that he is Elijah who is to come. He commends him for his powerful advancement of God’s kingdom. He indicates what it takes to attain true greatness. Bible Passages - Matt...

Children of Wisdom

Jesus categorizes people into two categories "children of wisdom" and "children of folly". How do we see the play between the two? Matt 11:16-19; Luke 7:29-35 Children of this generation: Calls the shots Changes their minds frequently Curb God’s people Children of...

Wisdom of Children

Christ's disciples have a great deal of wisdom in God's sight. A wisdom very different to that of the world. What are attributes of this wisdom?Passage/s: Matt 11:25-27; 13:16-17; Luke 10:21-24 Context Heart of Faith – believe Eyes of Faith - see Walk of Faith -...

Soul Rest

Simple yet profound. What are the steps to achieve true rest for the soul? This is the real reason Jesus came – to help us seek and attain soul rest. Many want it, but are we prepared to do what it takes to achieve it? Passage/s: Matthew 11:28-30 Context, Introduction...